About the Program in Judaic Studies

Art History, Archaeology, and Cultural Heritage

Katharina Galor (Ph.D., Brown University) is an art historian and archaeologist specializing in the visual and material culture of Israel-Palestine. She has excavated in France, Italy, and at various sites in Israel. In addition to her many years of teaching at Brown, she has also taught at the Hebrew University and the École biblique et archéologique française in Jerusalaem, at Tufts University and at the Rhode Island School of Design in the US, and most recently at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Her publications include The Archaeology of Jerusalem: From the Origins to the Ottomans (Yale University Press, 2013; with H. Bloedhorn); Finding Jerusalem: Archaeology between Science and Ideology (University of California Press, 2017); and The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (Duke University Press, 2020; with Sa’ed Atshan), which was translated into German (Israelis, Palästinenser und Deutsche in Berlin. Geschichten einer komplexen Bezhiehung (De Gruyter, 2021).

Biblical Studies

Saul M. Olyan (Ph.D., Harvard University) focuses his research and teaching on the history, literature, and religion of ancient Israel and the history of biblical interpretation. In recent years, textual representations of ritual and ritual’s social dimensions have been abiding interests of his. He has written on aspects of death and the afterlife, social inequality, sexuality, ritual violence, purity and impurity, and honor and shame, among other subjects. Currently, he is writing a book on friendship in the Hebrew Bible. He teaches courses on topics such as death and afterlife in the biblical tradition, friendship in the ancient world, the history of biblical interpretation, problems in Israelite history, problems in Israelite religion, biblical literature of the exile, and disability in antiquity as well as various doctoral seminars on biblical books that require an advanced knowledge of Hebrew, on Aramaic language and texts, and on Ugaritic language and texts.

Early Modern Jewish History

Adam Teller (Ph.D., Hebrew University) specializes in the history of the Jews in eastern Europe, with a particular focus on the ways in which they came to form an integral part of society in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the tensions this process aroused. He has examined this question from a variety of angles, including books on living conditions in the Jewish quarter in seventeenth century Poznan and on the role played by the Jews in the magnate economy of eighteenth century Lithuania (both published in Hebrew), as well as a series of articles on the Polish-Lithuanian rabbinate and its relationship with the Crown and noble authorities.

Hebrew Language

Ruth Adler Ben Yehuda (M.A., Hebrew University) specializes in the history of the Hebrew language and teaches all Hebrew language courses covering the first two and a half years of study. She serves as Chair of the Pedagogy Committee of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew. Ruth also regularly presents lectures and training workshops for instructors of Hebrew as a second language in the U.S. and in Israel. Her research interests include Hebrew language pedagogy, language learning and technology, and language and culture. She is the author of “Daily Life in Israel- Listening and Viewing Comprehension” (Magnes / Hebrew University, 2011).

Jewish Literature and Israel Studies

David C. Jacobson  (Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles) conducts research in the fields of Jewish Literature and Israel Studies. He is the author of Modern Midrash: The Retelling of Traditional Jewish Narratives by Twentieth-Century Hebrew Writers; Does David Still Play Before You? Israeli Poetry and the Bible;  Creator, Are You Listening? Israeli Poets on God and Prayer; and Beyond Political Messianism: the Poetry of Second-Generation Religious Zionist Settlers. He is co-editor (with Kamal Abdel-Malek) of Israeli and Palestinian Identities in History and Literature and co-editor (with William Cutter) of History and Literature: New Readings of Jewish Texts in Honor of Arnold J. Band. He is currently writing a book on the resurgence of interest in rabbinic legends in contemporary Israeli culture.  His courses include: Holocaust Literature; The Bible as Literature; The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Contested Narratives; God and Poetry; Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists in Contemporary Fiction; and Issues in Contemporary Israeli Society, Politics, and Culture in Hebrew.

Jewish Thought

Paul E. Nahme (Ph.D., University of Toronto) is the Dorot Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University. He has studied Rabbinic Literature and Jewish Law at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He taught previously at the University of Kansas and was formerly a fellow at the NYU School of Law and Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. His research interests focus mostly on modern Jewish philosophy and Rabbinic thought, intellectual history, religion, ethics, and politics, and the philosophy and hermeneutics of law. His current book project examines the philosophy of Hermann Cohen in the context of late 19th century Wilhelmine Germany and interrogates Cohen’s response to the philosophical problem of secularity for German-Jews living in a Protestant state.

Late Antique Christianity and Judaism

 Jae Hee Han (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) focuses on the communities living in the Late Antique Near East. His current interests revolve around concepts of revelation, prophethood, pedagogy, philosophy, and religion. His recent articles explore the intersections in literary production and pedagogical culture between the rabbis and “heretical” Christians known as the Manichaeans. His current book-project traces developments in notions of prophethood and revelation peculiar to the late antique Near East, with a particular emphasis on the Manichaeans, rabbis, and Neoplatonists. He teaches courses on the figure of Jesus, the life and afterlives of the Apostle Paul, ancient magic and prophecy, and the formation of religious identities under imperial rule.  

Modern European Jewish History

Mary Gluck (Ph.D., Columbia University) is a cultural and intellectual historian of Central Europe with a special interest in the Jews of the Habsburg Monarchy.  She teaches courses in modern European intellectual history, the Fin de Siècle, modernism, Parisian urbanism, Central European Jewish modernism, and the cultural function of Jewish humor.  Her research focuses on the intersections between aesthetics, politics and popular culture, as well as on the social and cultural aspects of Jewish assimilation.  She is the author of George Lukács and His Generation, which explores Lukács’ pre-Marxist career in Budapest.  She has also written on Popular Bohemia: Modernism and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris, which traces the popular roots of aesthetic modernism in bohemian culture.  Her most recent book, The Invisible Jewish Budapest: The Genesis of a Metropolitan Culture at the Fin de Siècle explores Jewish commercial entertainment and popular culture in the Dual Monarchy.   

Rabbinics and Early Judaism

Michael Satlow (Ph.D., Jewish Theological Seminary) has written extensively on issues of gender, sexuality, and marriage among Jews in antiquity (ca. 500 BCE - 500 CE) among other topics. His recent book, How the Bible Became Holy tells the story of how the texts that would become biblical gained authority through antiquity.  He directs the open access database project "Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine" (www.brown.edu/iip), a digital project graphing the relationships between rabbis, and is the creator of "From Israelite to Jew," a podcast series available freely at iTunesU.  He has held fellowships from the ACLS and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has served as a Fulbright Scholar and as the Seymour Gittin Distinguished Professor at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem.  He is the Managing Editor of Brown Judaic Studies.

Yiddish Culture, Israel Studies, American Jewish History

Rachel Rojanski (Ph.D., Tel-Aviv University) is a cultural and political historian of the east European Yiddish-speaking Jewish diaspora from late 19th century to the end of the 20th century, with a special interest in  American Jewish history, Zionism and Israel Studies. Her research also encompasses Jewish Socialism, Gender studies, and the history of Yiddish.  Her publications include:  Conflicting Identities: Labor  Zionism in North America 1905-1931 (Hebrew, Ben-Gurion University Press, 2004); Yiddish in Israel: A History (Indiana University Press, 2020) as well as numerous articles on Jewish Socialism, the Yiddish press, and Jewish gender. Her  current book project focuses on Holocaust survivor, historian, Yiddish writer and public activist, Rachel Auerbach.  Before coming to Brown she was a faculty member at the University of Haifa, and the President of the National Authority for Yiddish in Israel.